Child participation is a vital part of child rights. Children are a large proportion of the population, and have their own perspectives, opinions and ideas about child rights, education, development and other important issues. By encouraging children to participate and share ideas we are ensuring that they have a voice in the issues that impact them. Effective advocacy and development work for children is made possible by children sharing what their needs are and how they think they can best be helped.
Furthermore, children are capable and strong. Helping children to learn their rights and responsibilities enables them to advocate for themselves and their communities, not just rely on others to speak for them. Child Rights International has encouraged this through Child Rights Clubs, where children identify and develop solutions for issues in their communities.
Many girls, in particular, struggle to be assertive and to form positive relationships in their lives. The president of the Child Rights Club at Mampong Anglican Primary, Joyce, used to be one of those girls. Since she joined the Child Rights Club at her school, Joyce has overcome her shyness and has become much more outgoing and formed many new positive and healthy relationships. Child Rights International works to foster courage in children like Joyce to make sure that their voices are being heard.
Children who are engaged and heard are children who are empowered to work hard and grow into adults who are intelligent, energetic and creative. Child Rights International seeks to make sure they are always being listened to. During a trip for monitoring and evaluation, CRI focused on receiving detailed accounts of where the children felt clubs were succeeding and where they needed to be adapted. In this way children are shaping the future of the clubs, and learning to become leaders who have the skills and drive to make a difference in their communities, the country and the world.